Sound patterns in poetry give it a rhythmic quality. Poems with both rhythm and rhyme can be more enjoyable to read - especially for younger students. Prosody is important in all forms of literary text, including poetry. Therefore, students need to understand the rhythmic quality of poetry in order to read poems fluently.
I show the Video: Read a poem with rhythm out loud to hook students into the lesson. I find that video tutorials that are presented in a lively tone appeals to students' senses. In turn, students are drawn into the lesson by the video enactments.
In this lesson, my Sound Devices Flipchart focuses on the rhythm and rhyme of poetry. Students are assessed for prior knowledge in the first few slides, and, for my class, I discovered that most students are familiar with rhymes. However, the connection between syllables in words and the rhythm was not common knowledge to students. I usually begin by clapping the syllables of their names so that students understand the rhythm in words. We begin by analyzing various poetry samples that demonstrate its rhythm and rhyme. Doing this activity together models my expectations and focus of this activity to students.
Background knowledge is important for students to make sense of their learning. Students enter with different life experiences and knowledge into this lesson. Part of the flip chart is to assess what students already know. We share information from peers and the teacher to fill in the gaps so students understand the basic foundational knowledge of what characterizes a rhythm and rhyme in a poem. Common Core encourages this type of discussion and communication of knowledge through collaborative efforts. Depth in knowledge can only be attained once students dig deeper below the surface.
Now, students are paired and asked to create poems similar to our samples. Their poems must contain rhymes and a pattern of 7, 5, 7 syllables per stanza. We review the terminology of words like stanza, verse, line, couplet, rhyme, rhythm. Once I conduct a formative assessment that students understand this activity, I encourage them to take ownership of this lesson. I facilitate as needed as students work in pairs creating their poem.
I ask students to perform the more rigorous task of "creating" their own poem. As noted on the hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy, creating uses higher order thinking processes. There is much more rigor to creating a poem than merely remembering, understanding, or applying what they learn from this type of poetry. Creating requires students to synthesize information, generate hypotheses, and develop new ideas that is relevant to them. Thus, students are deeply immersed in understanding how words and structure of poetry can add meaning and rhythm.
The most fun part of creating poems is the Student Poetry Reading. I decided to create a relaxing atmosphere by playing soft music in the background as students read their poetry. This also reminds students that rhythmic qualities in music are similar to those in poetry. Students enjoyed sharing their creative poems as others react with applause. I encourage students to read dramatically and expressively. Students' creations were used to document their progress: Rhythm student sample 1 and Rhtythm student sample 2.